When Norwood was established in 1872, it was largely an agricultural village. Town planners who wanted to build-up the town, created incentives for business to settle here. Many companies eagerly accepted Norwood’s enticements and built companies that remained in the town for decades. These newly established companies needed laborers, and many recent immigrants answered the call and thus, settled in Norwood. The Swedeville Neighborhood was physically developed over a twenty-year period; between 1890 and 1910. George S. Winslow, George O. Peterson and Melville Smith recognized the need for homes and ultimately developed the land along Chapel Street into a thriving neighborhood.
The first house lots in Swedeville were developed in the 1890s on Cedar Street, just as the book printing industry was establishing their large shops in Norwood. These homes must have been a welcome site for newly arriving immigrants who were finding jobs in Norwood. From studying forty years of census records some interesting facts come to light. The first street developed was Cedar Street and the bulk of the homes there were owner occupied. When Savin Street was laid out some ten years later, census records show the majority of the homes here were rental properties, however the very same census records show that eventually many of Swedeville’s renters became property owners.
Initially, people who settled in Swedeville were Scandinavian, German and English-Canadians. This was probably due to the fact that Swedeville was centrally located to multiple businesses making a commute to work an easy stroll. Over time, Swedeville grew into its own unique self-contained community with churches, stores and social organizations, and not to mention, as Swedeville was growing, Norwood needed a larger elementary school, and built one right in the heart of the neighborhood. Being centrally located, Swedeville’s small shop owners provided services, not only for their residents but also for those who lived in the Germantown and in South Norwood neighborhoods. However, it’s churches and social organizations promoted the culture and language they left behind in their countries of origin. Swedeville grew into a tight-knit community where residents knew everyone in their neighborhood, plus they also shared a similar culture. This exhibit explores not only the people who settled here, but also the development and places of Swedeville that made this a very special community.
Note: “Välkommen” is Swedish for Welcome and “Tervetuloa” is Finnish for Welcome.
More About Swedeville:
Four family building on Savin Avenue. (photo LLKearney) The house lots in Swedeville, when originally sold, were empty lots, ready to have a house…
View of the tunnel looking towards South Norwood. (photo by LLKearney) At the junction of Cedar Street and Savin Avenue, the train tracks are visible.…